"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
May 7, 2014
Creating a Culture of Self-Reliance
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

Carolyn will be speaking next week, Tuesday May 13th, in Fallon Nevada. Check with your Relief Society president and join Carolyn. This is a meeting for both Fallon Stakes so don’t miss out! Be sure to let her know you read her articles here at Nauvoo Times.

Lt. General Russel L. Honoré (Retired) who was the 33rd commanding general of the U.S. First Army and commander of Joint Task Force Katrina said:

Each of us has a personal responsibility to be ready. We need to prepare our families and our homes. In many cases, family and personal preparations can be fairly simple. All it takes is a shift in our thinking.

For example, when Granny's birthday comes around, we have a tendency to get her one of those little silver picture frames with a photo of the kids. We need to stop giving Granny those picture frames and give her a weather radio. And on Father's Day, instead of giving Grandpa those funky colored ties, give him a weather radio, too.

In this new normal, we have only two options. We can exist in a culture of fear and dependency, or we can do the responsible thing: Live comfortably in a culture of preparedness and readiness; a culture where individuals can save themselves and empower their local, regional and national governments to better respond to any disaster. It's time for America to adopt this culture of preparedness.¹

We want more than just a culture of preparedness — we are striving for a culture of self-reliance. Although the prepared person may have the goods they will need to survive an emergency, the self-reliant individual has in addition the capabilities, judgment, and resourcefulness to manage his own affairs, independently.

Recently we had a friend who is a law enforcement officer tell us we are just an incident away from anarchy.

Should the grid go down for more than a few days, or prices go up so families are priced out of the grocery market, or medical expenses continue to rise, even though we were promised we would be better off, he believes we will see bands of desperate people attacking others for food and provisions.

President Joseph F. Smith explained the importance of temporal salvation and its relationship to spiritual salvation this way:

You must continue to remember that the temporal and the spiritual are blended. They are not separate. One cannot be carried on without the other, so long as we are here in mortality. (Gospel Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1939, p. 208)

President Marion G. Romney said:

The most fundamental principles of temporal salvation include two basic concepts: providing for oneself — self-reliance — and providing for one’s family — family reliance.

The first principle, that of self-reliance, grows out of a fundamental doctrine of the Church — that of free agency. That doctrine of free agency is based on the truth that the basic essence of man is comprised of spirit matter, or intelligence, which is independent “in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself … Behold, here is the agency of man.” (See D&C 93:26–38; emphasis added.)

Thus, we understand that all is in place so that man can, if he so chooses, work out his salvation — both temporal and spiritual — and can achieve the benefits promised in this, his second estate. The self-reliance we speak of in the Church, then, grows out of eternal truths connected with the doctrines of intelligence and free agency.

Consequently, self-reliance, as taught by the prophets, becomes a fundamental truth in the gospel plan. (Marion G. Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Tambuli, Oct 1981)

To the degree we fail to prepare and become self-reliant, we give up our free agency — one of the most precious gifts from God.

So how can we create a culture of self-reliance within our homes? To create a culture of self-reliance, a yearning for independence in temporal matters must become a constant in our homes. It must become second nature in everyday living.

As with a diet, we cannot starve for a short time, lose a little weight and then assume we are done. Self-reliance needs to be a change in our lifestyle in the same way weight loss requires a change in lifestyle. It means not just a change in our habits, but a change in the very way we think.

Begin by determining which emergencies may affect your family. Approach this as you would evaluate what you need in the way of insurance.

Could there be a flood, house fire, burglary, hurricane, earthquake, wildfire, chemical spill, terrorist incident, tornado, or dust storm, job loss, decreased spending power do to rising food and medical costs?

You would pay for insurance to cover these disasters if you thought them likely. Here comes the change in thinking, now you will establish your own insurance against these possibilities. Each week think about your self-reliance insurance.

I have called self-reliance a “General Store.” Remember general stores of old? They were the place you went to purchase food, clothing, medicine, tools, garden seeds, fabric, candles, school supplies, stamps — just about everything you needed to care for a family and run a household. As you consider yourself and your family, ask yourself what is missing from your General Store.

Consider the following steps to develop a culture of self-reliance in your household:

1. Set-aside money each week to "pay" your self-reliance insurance. Purchase those items that your General Store is lacking. Help your children to understand that just as a storekeeper has to sacrifice to purchase their first inventory to stock their store, you may also need to sacrifice to establish yours.

When you have met those goals and stocked your cupboards it will be easier to throw together a last-minute party after the big game or to invite friends to stay for dinner. If your kids signed up to bring something to school, but forgot to tell you until they were about to leave — more than likely they will be able to go to your General Store and find it.

There will never be a time when friends drop by that you can't offer a snack, and never again will you have to tell a Relief Society president that you just can't help out a family in need.

2. Involve your family in the adventure and change their thinking also. Ask them to watch and search for bargains.

My sister-in-law called last week to let me know a local chain store was closing out their canning lids. In May? Why would you close out canning lids at the beginning of canning season? I ran down and stocked up. I can now preserve 156 bottles of food for less than $10.00 in lids.

Your spouse and children can become detectives in the same way, when they know the plan and what is needed to stock your family’s General Store.

Each year we wait for binders, pencils, crayons, and notebooks to go on sale at the beginning of the school year. When they get to bargain prices it is time to stock up for the next year. After all, the bargains come a week or two after the first week of school when most people have already had to purchase supplies to meet the teacher's requirements.

3. Learn new skills. Summer is almost here, and schools are letting out for a few weeks or months. Now would be a great time to take on some projects as a family. Learn to cook using only foods from your General Store. It really amazes me how few people know how to make a cake or a batch of pancakes from scratch.

Learn basic car care. Learn to change a tire, put on snow chains, change the oil, fill the radiator, learn to wash and vacuum the car like a pro. Learn to sew. Learn to build a fire. Learn to set up a tent. Learn to use every item in your 72-hour kits. All these skills are important in case there is no one available to provide the service.

Self-reliance implies the individual development of skills and abilities and then their application to provide for one’s own needs and wants. It further implies that one will achieve those skills through self-discipline and then, through self-restraint and charity, will use those skills to bless himself and others.

That the Lord expects all his children who are of sound mind and body to thus perform in this second estate is made clear in many scriptural passages whose central thought focuses on work — personal, earnest, life-sustaining work. (Marion G. Romney, “Principles of Temporal Salvation,” Tambuli, Oct 1981)

4. Think through a disaster and plan your response. When we are faced with a crisis, we mortals tend to respond in the same way. Why? Because that is the way our brains are programmed to handle extreme stress. First, we cannot believe the crisis has occurred.

We have friends who lost their barn with their camping supplies, food storage and more. They could smell the smoke but it was not until a passer-by stopped that they realized it was their barn. We just don't want to believe it could be happening to us.

The second phase is a stupor of thought. We may know we need to take action but we just can't move. We may even stand and stare at our 72-hour kit and never pick it up. Last of all, we move into action.

All these stages are faced by everyone during a crisis. The difference in how quickly one person moves from phase one to phase three, compared to another, depends on how much knowledge they have absorbed before the disaster happens.

The more you know, the more you have thought through how you will react and what you will do – and the more success you will have in dealing with and surviving the emergency.

5. Study the Scriptures. As we strive to create a spiritual home we study the scriptures. Remember what the Lord has said, "Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created." (D&C 29:34)

We must study and work until we truly understand that all the Father asks us to do is for our eternal salvation. I recently heard a speaker talk about the relationship between stress and productivity. He explained that those who are stressed cannot be productive.

As stress is reduced, we become more creative and more capable of solving problems. Preparing reduces stess when a trial comes, and it will come.

The Lord has told us exactly how to reduce stress and become productive, creative, and successful in every aspect of our lives. "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God" (D&C 109:8)

He said to organize yourself, then prepare every needful thing. Then, we are prepared to establish a house of prayer, fasting, faith, learning and glory. This house will then be a house of order and God can become the center of all we are and all we do.

To begin your own journey toward a Culture of Self Reliance or to build your own General Store join Carolyn at https://www.facebook.com/TotallyReady Contact her at: Carolyn@TotallyReady.com

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About Carolyn Nicolaysen

Carolyn Nicolaysen grew up in New Jersey and joined the Church while attending Central College in Pella, Iowa. With a degree in Home Economics, she later worked as a high school teacher, and served as an elected trustee of her local school board. Carolyn has taught personal and family preparedness to all who will listen. Having lived in areas that were threatened by winter storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and now living in an earthquake prone area, she has developed a passion for preparedness. Carolyn started her own business, TotallyReady, when she saw the need for higher quality emergency information that could truly sustain families in a disaster.

Carolyn is FEMA trained and is an Amateur Radio first responder. She serves as Relief Society president of her California ward.

Carolyn is the author of three ebooks, Mother Hubbard, What She's Doing Now (food storage for the 21st century), Prep Not Panic (preparing for a pandemic of medical emergency) and That Won't Happen to Me (a discussion of disaster preparations). She has also authored a glove box book, Totally Ready for the Road and writes a monthly newsletter and the Totally Ready facebook page.

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